Frustrations Galore.

This has been one rough week and I cannot wait until it is behind me.

  • My boss is on vacation so I’ve been filling in for him.  That has lead to some hectic times in the office.  It’s great being in charge sometimes but I am looking forward to having that extra load lifted come Monday!  Also at work, being part of a huge organization can create complicated processes and frustration that are truly unnecessary.
  • I was expecting a shipment at home from Modell’s (new sneaks baby) this week.  It was initially shipped via FedEx SmartPost which means that FedEx brings it to the US Post Office who then delivers it.  In tracking this shipment, I saw that it went from my city, to the next one over, then to New Jersey, a whole other state.  I cannot begin to tell you the frustration I had in trying to get to the bottom of where it was going to wind up.  Sitting silent on your end of the phone because you cannot get passed the automated voice prompt in order to speak to a real person.  USPS needs to improve their telephone customer service system!
  • Insurance.  I admit I’ve never really had to deal with insurance woes.  My coverage is above average and never resulted in denied claims or anything of that nature.  This year, my employer switched to Anthem BCBS and I hate them.  Every shipment of pods that I get from Edgepark is initially denied, they request medical records (of what kind, I have no idea) and take 2 months or more to finally approve.  My last order from 5/22/13 is still not approved.  This is the third time they’ve done this and Edgepark will rightfully be hesitant to send my next shipment which is scheduled for 8/3.  I’ve attempted to work something out with them so that this does not happen every time to no avail.  This has become so frustrating and now also worrisome that I will not receive my pods in a timely manner.
  • My employer offers a health advocate service and I figured my insurance approval for pods issue was the perfect opportunity to engage such a service.  This is what I was told by them today “Unfortunately, the distributor has the right to hold any shipment if payment is not received.  Your only option would be to pay the charges and submit the bill to the insurance carrier for reimbursement as the request for medical records are to determine medical necessity.”  Hello more frustration.
  • Insurance.  I admit I’ve never dealt with insurance woes.  My (previous) pump was an Animas Ping that came out of warranty last month.  I received a new one with word from Animas that no preauthorization was required and that it was covered 100% under my durable medical equipment coverage.  Anthem has approved this claim with the amount of the pump not covered.  Animas claims they are working on it and assured me I would not have to pay for the pump.  I informed them more than once I am NOT paying $6,000 for the pump.  So incredibly frustrating.
  • My endo appointment was last week and not only did my A1c go up a bit, so did my cholesterol.  This is the first time ever that it’s been slightly elevated so I’m not terribly concerned.  However I am trying to think of what could have possibly caused it and am extremely frustrated that I can’t seem to narrow it down to anything in particular.  If anything, I’ve been exercising more and eating a bit better!
  • In the 18 months I’ve been using the OmniPod system, I have had very few issues with pod failures and other problems.  Last week when it was about 100 degrees in NY, I changed a pod to my lower back only to sweat it off in 5-10 minutes flat.  Since I was afraid of sweating more pods off, I was mainly using my abdomen for pod sites, although still rotating areas as much as I could.  One pod turned into a bleeder and when I took it off looked possibly infected.  Luckily I tended it to right away and it was not actually infected.  The pod after that started leaking insulin and left a huge welt on my belly.  Thinking I should give my abdomen a break and with slightly cooler weather, I turned to my top butt for the next pod.  Which also turned into a bleeder.  Three pods in a row that had to come off early and resulted in high BG.  Insulet is replacing 2 of the 3 pods however that does not replace the frustration it has been to deal with this issue.  I am extremely thankful that I have an alternate pump to use instead for the time being.

Can I scream now??!  I hope you are having a much less frustrating week!

Little Things to Appreciate.

One of the things about living with diabetes is that there are a lot of medication and supplies needed on daily basis. Very important mediations and supplies. And very expensive medications and supplies. This means that people living with diabetes deal with pharmacies, medical supply companies and insurance companies more than we’d prefer I’m sure. I am extremely fortunate to have most of my diabetes supplies covered under durable medical equipment and Edgepark is a preferred provider for my insurance. To me, this gives the comfort of knowing I am going to receive my pods, sensors, test strips and ketone test strips like clockwork, every 3 months. I am a huge fan of Edgepark. Some of you may have already heard this from me. I’ve been dealing with them for almost 3 years and have never had a bad experience.

Until yesterday that is. A shipment of test strips was being sent to me – some boxes of Freestyle test strips (backup strips that go with my OmniPod PDM), some boxes of One Touch Verio test strips and some boxes of Precision Xtra blood ketone strips was what I was expecting. Except when I got home and opened the package there were only 2 boxes of Freestyle strips. Umm, I knew the package felt way too light! In a panic, I called Edgepark to report the error in my delivery. I was told the other strips were on backorder however I was not notified of this prior to the shipment going out. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in my favorite supply company. The customer service rep checked with their warehouse in another location and was able to locate the items I needed in stock and informed me they would be going out in the next couple of days. I was beginning to run low on my primary meter strips and was kind of bummed I may run out before getting the new supply.

However, I got an email from Edgepark early this morning about a delivery notification and low and behold I received this package in my office around 10 this morning.

I was frustrated that they didn’t inform me of back ordered items but thank you Edgepark for compensating for that mistake by getting these to me in a hurry. Customer service like that makes dealing with the intricacies of diabetes life a tad bit easier.

Not Sure What to Think.

Recently I mentioned in a post that I have been testing my BG 17-19 times on some days.  I am trying to “control” my BG like never before but those frequent tests do not have all to do with my efforts.  I can thank many of those tests for the lack of confidence I have in my glucose meter readings. A few months ago I blogged about frustration I was having with my One Touch meter, leading me to switch my primary meter to the Freestyle Lite.  Since then, I have used the Ping meter on occasion since I am lazy it is convenient to be able to bolus from that, especially when I wear a dress or skirt and the pump is tucked away.  Also on occasion, I have continued my comparison between the two meters.  Here is where things take a turn.  When I conducted my “testing” between meters back a few months ago, the Freestyle was ALWAYS higher.  And I mean always.  Now in recent weeks, every time I do a comparison, the Freestyle is ALWAYS lower.  And I mean always.  (Except when I encountered a meter reading fantasy and the meters read the exact same!)  This is so perplexing. 

I was so sure that since using One Touch, I was not getting a1c results I expected since it was reading lower than my actual BG readings.  Now, I’m not so sure.  I don’t know what to think most times when I test my BG.  All I want is a reading that will help me manage my diabetes and let me make the right decisions that my health and life depend on.  All I want is information I can work with to get my a1c below 7%.  How am I supposed to do that if I’m not even sure what my BG really is?  Can the FDA or a diabetes meter company answer that for me?

Thank goodness for Edgepark allowing a split shipment of test strips between different kinds. I’m not sure what I would be doing if I didn’t have that option.

Small Victories.

Part of the lives we lead as people with diabetes includes much interaction with places like doctor’s offices and pharmacies and insurance companies. I think it’s common knowledge that sometimes dealing with these types of places can be aggravating. To say the least. To put that on top of the already mundane and tiresome task of managing diabetes, it can feel overwhelming. That’s why when things go smoothly and there is an organization or individual that goes out of their way to help you even in small ways, it can feel like a huge victory.

Edgepark is a medical supply company. I initially used them just for the shipment of my Dexcom sensors. I believe they were the preferred supplier per my insurance. Then I began getting my pump supplies from them as well. Mostly for convenience. Then I was contacted by one of their representatives who I’ll call “J”. She asked what my current method was for getting test strips. When I told her I got them via my local retail pharmacy, she asked if I would be interested in getting those from them. When she explained that it would be covered under my durable medical equipment coverage and not my prescription coverage with a much lower co-pay, I happily agreed. So for the past year I think, I’ve been getting test strips from them as well. When I recently switched to Freestyle from One Touch as my primary testing, they allowed me to switch with no problems whatsoever. Then the other day it dawned on me. What about the ketone strips I pay a ridiculous amount of money for? Could those be provided by them too? Well I called J and sure enough she got right on it and I should have those delivered to me in the next few days. (Pending insurance approval obviously) This may not sound like much of an effort on her part but it’s the little things that can take some stress off of us. That can lighten our burden just a little. And we can be thankful that there are people or companies out there offering fantastic service when we have so much to deal with.

Disclaimer: I do not have any affiliation with Edgepark. They do not know that I am posting this story today nor have they asked me to review their service. If they do read this however, thank you J and Edgepark! 🙂